Cells of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae select bud sites in either of two distinct spatial patterns, known as axial (expressed by a and alpha cells) and bipolar (expressed by a/alpha cells). Fluorescence, time-lapse, and scanning electron microscopy have been used to obtain more precise descriptions of these patterns. From these descriptions, we conclude that in the axial pattern, the new bud forms directly adjacent to the division site in daughter cells and directly adjacent to the immediately preceding division site (bud site) in mother cells, with little influence from earlier sites. Thus, the division site appears to be marked by a spatial signal(s) that specifies the location of the new bud site and is transient in that it only lasts from one budding event to the next. Consistent with this conclusion, starvation and refeeding of axially budding cells results in the formation of new buds at nonaxial sites. In contrast, in bipolar budding cells, both poles are specified persistently as potential bud sites, as shown by the observations that a pole remains competent for budding even after several generations of nonuse and that the poles continue to be used for budding after starvation and refeeding. It appears that the specification of the two poles as potential bud sites occurs before a daughter cell forms its first bud, as a daughter can form this bud near either pole. However, there is a bias towards use of the pole distal to the division site. The strength of this bias varies from strain to strain, is affected by growth conditions, and diminishes in successive cell cycles. The first bud that forms near the distal pole appears to form at the very tip of the cell, whereas the first bud that forms near the pole proximal to the original division site (as marked by the birth scar) is generally somewhat offset from the tip and adjacent to (or overlapping) the birth scar. Subsequent buds can form near either pole and appear almost always to be adjacent either to the birth scar or to a previous bud site. These observations suggest that the distal tip of the cell and each division site carry persistent signals that can direct the selection of a bud site in any subsequent cell cycle.

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